Wednesday, September 1st, 2021


Choice Cut

For defenders of Roe v Wade and a woman's right to choose, this is no longer a drill. The long term effort to overturn Roe took a dramatic step forward as the Supreme Court remained silent on a Texas law that bans abortions after about six weeks (when many women don't know they're pregnant yet), makes no exception for rape or incest, and (the so crazy it's worked so far part) "allows private citizens to sue abortion providers and anyone else who helps a woman obtain an abortion — including those who give a woman a ride to a clinic or provide financial assistance to obtain an abortion. Private citizens who bring these suits don't need to show any connection to those they are suing." NPR: What The Texas Abortion Ban Does — And What It Means For Other States.

+ NY Mag: Texas Just Got Away With Banning Abortion. Will Anyone Stop Them? "In addition to a horrifying throwback to romanticized notions of "Texas justice," this provision makes it hard to get an injunction preventing the law from taking effect. Who, exactly, is a court supposed to stop? No sheriff or attorney general will be arresting doctors or nurses (or, for that matter, moms who drive their daughters to a health clinic). And whoever might now file suit hasn't done so yet. From a legal point of view, it's not clear that there's a live controversy until someone actually does. Again, that may happen as soon as today. And the moment a court official stamps one of these ridiculous lawsuits, that's enough state action to warrant an injunction."


Deplane, Deplane

"Chief Executive Officer Thierry Vanlancker has spent the past year watching his manufacturing head, David Prinselaar, flap his arms, madly gesticulate and seemingly talk to himself while 'visiting'' 124 plants by directing staff with high-definition augmented-reality headgear on factory floors. A task that meant crisscrossing the globe in a plane before is now done in a fraction of the time — and with no jet lag." Delta has slowed the return to business travel. But it may never fully come back. Bloomberg: Business travel as we've known it is a thing of the past. (And getting drunk on mini bottles of booze while watching Spectravision isn't nearly as fun at home.)


Forever Minefield

"When I hear that we could've, should've continued the so-called low-grade effort in Afghanistan at low risk to our service members, at low cost, I don't think enough people understand how much we've asked of the 1% of this country to put that uniform on." Biden made his case for ending the forever war. Here's the full speech.

+ The evil of the Taliban has not been overstated. But their desire to actually govern, and therefore, their need for international support, has been understated. The free world is not without leverage. Taliban cooperation included protecting Americans from possible terrorist attack at airport. And, Taliban demand US diplomats return to Kabul and have a diplomatic presence. (Again, no one should take the Taliban at their word. But they've got a country to govern and an economy to develop.)

+ "The fighters told her to pass along a message: They were looking for me and I needed to get in touch. If I didn't, what happened next would be my own fault." Must-read from the NYT (gift article for ND readers): The Airlifts Have Stopped, and the Taliban Are Looking for Me.

+ White House responds to plea of interpreter who helped rescue Biden but is still stuck in Afghanistan.


Hauling Apart

"Despite long-haulers' fight for recognition, any discussion of the pandemic still largely revolves around two extremes—good health at one end, and hospitalization or death at the other. This ignores the hinterland of disability that lies in between, where millions of people are already stuck, and where many more may end up." Ed Yong in The Atlantic: Long-Haulers Are Fighting for Their Future. "Neglecting them could make the pandemic even worse."

+ NYT: Another Hidden Covid Risk: Lingering Kidney Problems.

+ "As students and staff return to school, the highly transmissible Delta variant of Covid-19 has caused cases, hospitalizations and death rates to soar across the country." So what's the response of Florida Gov Ron DeSantis? The Florida Department of Education is planning to withhold salaries for Broward, Alachua county boards that have issued mask mandates. (The culture wars are coming for your kids.)

+ Last year, Bonnaroo was canceled for the pandemic. This year, it's been canceled because of the flooding.


Adoption Agency

"As he stood on the side of the road, police searched the vehicle, pulling nearly $87,000 in a zip-top bag from Lara's trunk and insisting a drug-sniffing dog had detected something on the cash. Police found no drugs, and Lara, 39, was charged with no crimes. But police nonetheless left with his money, calling a Drug Enforcement Administration agent to coordinate a process known as 'adoption,' which allows federal authorities to seize cash or property they suspect is connected to criminal activity without levying criminal charges." WaPo (gift article for ND readers): A former Marine was pulled over for following a truck too closely. Police took nearly $87,000 of his cash. (This is why I almost never commute with more than forty or fifty grand in cash...)


The Golden State

"The day feels toxic. All those tiny pieces of ash combining to shroud Lake Tahoe, a gray miasma that warns of the megafire just eight miles from the shore. But the night. The night feels treacherous. Well after dark the Caldor fire engulfs pine trees with a crackling sound that crescendos into a roar. The flames don't burn boughs laden with needles so much as they make them disappear with a blinding flash." Teams are still working around the clock to save the Tahoe area from the Caldor fire. The NYT: One Night on the Fire Lines at Lake Tahoe. To put the magnitude of this year's fires into perpective, consider this: Caldor is only the second fire in recorded history to cross from one side of the Sierra Nevada to the other. The first was the Dixie. A few weeks ago.


Road Rage

"Schmoll admits that he's given some thought to barricading the Crisman property. 'Supposedly, I could shut that road down now,' said Schmoll, who raises beef cattle. 'I have no intention of doing that. Their little girls have to get to the school bus. But if I could close that down for Andy and Renee, I would.'" A Rural Minnesota family may be trapped as town declares their access road doesn't exist. (Even regular NextDoor visitors will find this story shocking.)


Tennis? Anyone?!

"If Blackman is right, and I believe he is, then perhaps the true villain behind the downfall of pro men's tennis in the United States is Otto von Habsburg. Aka, the last crown prince of Austria-Hungary. Aka, former head of the House of Habsburg-Lorraine. Aka, deceased sovereign of the Order of the Golden Fleece. That piece of shit." (Either that, or it's the big three.) Whatever it is, America men are nowhere to be found in the last weekend of major tennis tournaments, and that's a trend that has been going on for a long time. A problem this intractable needs an excellent journalist to cover it. Which brings us to Rosecrans Baldwin in GQ: Where's the Next Andy Roddick? (I planned to end this blurb with my prediction that Sebastian Korda - son of Peter, brother of golfers Nelly and Jessica - could be the next US male tennis star. So I did a quick check on how his US Open is going so far. He retired mid-match during the first round after he "called for the trainer and complained that he was feeling ill, at one stage asking for a bucket so he could throw up.")


Shot Clock

"They were late, they may have had a logical reason for being late, and therefore we allowed them to compete and look at the facts of the matter afterward." Malaysian shot putter stripped of Paralympic gold after arriving three minutes late.


Bottom of the News

"Another visitor to Hawaii has been arrested for allegedly using a fake vaccine card to fly to the islands." What tipped off authorities? The spelling of her vaccine: Maderna.

+ Your dog may know if you've done something on purpose, or just screwed up. (Your cat for sure doesn't care.)

+ When it comes to Limbo Roller Skating, always bet the spread.

+ This edition had it all. Analysis, humor, memorable stories, personal asides, and an urgent call for a barf bucket. That's basically what my book is like. Order Please Scream Inside Your Heart: Breaking News and Nervous Breakdowns in the Year that Wouldn't End, and please share my landing page on social media.